Hello everybody,

I just want to inform you that the Air and Space Academy (AAE) and the French Aerospace Society (3AF) are organising an International Conference on November 13th and 14th, 2014 on the subject ‘‘Present and future of civilian RPAS’’ on DGAC Paris and in video transmission on ENAC Toulouse (France).

The conference take place in the amphitheater of the DGAC Paris (50 rue HenriFarman 75015 Paris), but there will also be a video transmission to ENAC Toulouse (7 Avenue Édouard Belin 31000 Toulouse).

The aim of this two-day conference is to bring together key stakeholders in the field of Civilian RPAS (users, manufacters and operators) to confront and enrich viewpoints, in order to achieve an integrated vision and bring out areas for improvement and actions needed to enable this young aeronautics sector to develop in a harmonious way.

The two days will comprise sessions tackling various themes, namely:
- Main types of civilian RPAS - state of the art (session 1),
- Stakeholders’ viewpoint (session 2),
- Public expectations and regulations (session 3),
- Risk management, degraded modes, technical means & procedures (session 4),
- Users’ expectations (session 5)
- and Potential market (session 6).
The conference will conclude with a Round Table and a summary.

More information on: www.academie-air-espace.com/RPAS/


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  • I just returned from Paris where I participated in last week's` AAE symposium on the "Present and Future of Civilian RPAS" (http://www.academie-air-espace.com/RPAS/prog.php  -- there is an English version available upper right) and I can tell you I came away very frustrated with the situation here in the US.  In 2012 the DGAC published a very well-structured set of regulations covering these vehicles and systems (see http://www.drone-rc.com/en/regulation ). The net result:  one slide presented during the conference told the story--at the end of April, 2014, there were over 1000 approved operators utilizing over 1600 "drones."  The conference was a complete sellout, and was well-attended by manufacturers, regulators, users, and interested parties.  Programs using multirotor and fixed-wing drones were presented by France TV, EDF, Bouygues, Agricultural interests, SNCF, and the petroleum industry...they are ACTIVELY AND LEGALLY  using these devices for the kind of network surveillance (pipelines, EDF, SNCF), crop mapping and other precision agricultural applications, etc. that we talk about in our report.    In contrast to what we have here in the US., representatives from industry were actually giving credit to the DGAC for implementing these regulations in 2012...it is clear that this action has enabled a burgeoning industry just as we discussed in our report...but in this case, it isn't potential, it's real.  It was very exciting, but, as a citizen of the U.S., also very frustrating. 

    The FAA was subject to significant criticism, and not, this time, by me.  When the FAA representative present asked me at lunch the first day what I thought of that criticism, I was pretty blunt in my comments to the effect that they were "right on target."  We talked about how this situation came to be, and later in her remarks to the conference, she essentially acknowledged that the FAA was behind the power curve, but suggested strongly that the forthcoming "light UAS" rule-making ("before the end of the year" ) would change the situation markedly.  But the truth is that what is about to be released is a NPRM, and it will easily be two years before rules are actually in place.  Meanwhile, if you want to develop your UAS/Drone business, it would seem to be easier in France than here in the U.S.  


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